San Diego International Film Festival to host Oscar viewing party

Viewing Party Co-Chairs Sophia Alsadek, Lisa Sullivan, Kristi Pieper and Leesa Davis
(Courtesy of San Diego International Film Festival)

The San Diego International Film Festival will host its sixth annual Awards Viewing Party (Oscars) on Feb. 9 in the penthouse floor of 41 West in Bankers Hill, starting with the red carpet arrival at 4:30 p.m. Guests will also be able to cast their own votes for Oscar winners.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the FOCUS On Impact Film Program, which offers students opportunities to attend screenings, discussions with filmmakers and participate in the annual San Diego Film Festival, to be held this year from Oct. 13-18. The program, which addresses issues such as homelessness and water pollution, served more than 3,000 students last year.

“We’re passionate about this program,” said Tonya Mantooth, CEO and artistic director of the San Diego International Film Festival.

In a news release, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said the program “provides a special opportunity to our students, giving them access to films, filmmakers and topics that teach, engage and inspire.”

In addition to the screening of the 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the viewing party will include chefs from Oceana Coastal Kitchen, Pillbox Tavern and The Melting Pot.

Several films nominated in this year’s Academy Awards were screened at the 2019 San Diego International Film Festival, including “Parasite,” “Marriage Story,” “JoJo Rabbit” and “The Irishman.”

Mantooth said she admired “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho for taking “some amazing filmmaking chances” in the movie, which won awards at the recent Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. “Parasite” tackles themes of greed and class discrimination when members of a poor family try to ingratiate themselves with a wealthy family. The film is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, directing, film editing and international feature film.

The attendance at the viewing party, which is cocktail attire and black-tie optional, is expected to be about 250, Mantooth said. Tickets cost $195 each.

“We now sell out every year,” she added. “It’s quite successful and people enjoy the event.”

Co-chairs of the event are Sophia Alsadek, Lisa Sullivan, Kristi Pieper and Leesa Davis.

41 West is located at 2604 Fifth Ave. For more information and tickets, visit

Attendees gathered at the 2019 Awards Viewing Party.
(Courtesy/Carlo Toribio)